I often shake my head when meeting new clients and they recite a long list of diets they’ve tried in the past, ranging from the ridiculous to the downright dangerous. My response is always the same: I tell them I can teach them everything I know, but I can’t go home with them, I can’t shop for their groceries, I can’t plan for them and I can’t cook for them. So, if they’re not ready to commit to a lifestyle change, they’ll be unsuccessful with me too.
A diet is a quick-fix formula for temporary results — such as the ever-popular breakfast bar in the morning followed by a diet shake at lunch followed by a “healthy meal” (whatever the heck that means) for dinner. And that kind of eating supposedly will not only get people to lose weight but will sustain them for the rest of their lives! C’mon . . . let’s get real, people.
If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight should not, by itself, be the focus. When people only focus on losing weight, they’re usually less concerned with how they do it; they only care about how fast they can do it and, too often, how cheaply they can do it. What should be the focus, if you’re overweight, is eating correctly, giving your body the right kind and right amount of fuel it needs to operate efficiently every day. When you focus on that, shedding stored fat for a slim look will be the result.
Take a look at yourself in the mirror. Take a really good look. Front, back and sides. Do you like what you see? If not, and if you’ve been a yo-yo dieter forever, then this is probably not the first time that you see your current body in the mirror! How many more times in your life do you want to see that body? Aren’t you tired of looking at it? The only way to get off the dieting roller coaster is to make a commitment, once and for all, to not only change your eating lifestyle but to modify your mind as well. A fat body begins with a fat mind! You must be committed to changing habits which are extremely ingrained. Difficult to do? Yes. Impossible to do? Of course not! Habits are only habits, and any habit can be changed.
If you’re overweight, say the following out loud: “I’m either going up or I’m going down, but I’m not staying the same” . . . and you won’t. It is not possible to maintain your current over-weight forever! You can either eat to lose or eat to gain, but you’re not going to stay the same. Once you acknowledge that fact, here are some of the things you should do.
1. Believe you can lose.
You must believe that your weight problem is caused by your own choices (such as what foods you eat and how much) and not by genetics (such as the size of your mother’s thighs!). Only in this way will you come to understand and believe that YOU are in control of your weight. As Louise Hay writes in her book, The Power is Within You:
“I am in charge of my life. My thoughts and my words create my experiences, so I must choose them carefully. What’s good is my fault and what’s bad is my fault.”
2. Visualize yourself slimmer and happier.
Think about this: Anything you’ve wanted in your life — admission to college, marriage, children, a promotion at the office, starting your own business — started out as something you dreamed about achieving. You followed through on taking all the steps necessary to achieve success. Think about your weight loss the same way. Visualize a slimmer, healthier you. Then do what is necessary every day to make your dream a reality. Wanting something and achieving something are two different things. The formula for achieving anything in life, including weight loss, is: Goal + Plan + Follow-through = Success
3. Look at healthy foods in a new light.
People who lose weight and keep it off do so because they understood that their eating patterns just had to change, and they had to view food differently. They educated themselves about better nutrition and made a commitment to enjoying healthy, lower-fat foods and less sugar and sodium in their lives. So, stop dividing foods into “good-for-me” and “bad-for-me” categories. Think of food as fuel for your body, and shift the focus to nourishing your body and not on dieting. Even a simple shift in perception like this can help curb your tendency to overeat and make better food choices.
“Those who think they have no time for eating healthy will, sooner or later, have to find time for illness.”
~ Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby (1826–93), British statesman, “The Conduct of Life” address at Liverpool College, December 10, 1873
4. Concentrate on short term goals for long term success.
If you have a lot of weight to lose, that long-term goal, at the present time, seems daunting, overwhelming and unattainable. I get it. You can’t imagine it. For many, long term goals do not motivate healthy behavior because they are just too far away to inspire them at the present time to make the necessary smart choices that must be made dozens of times a day, every day, every week, every month. But short-term goals are do-able. Without reaching dozens of short-term goals, you’ll never get to the ultimate goal, right? So don’t minimize the tremendous accomplishment of losing 2 pounds. Time passes very quickly, and before you know it, all those weeks of losing “just 2 pounds” will add up. Think of it: If you lost even just 1/2 pound each week, at the end of a year you’d lose 26 pounds!
“Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.” ~ John Dewey
5. Be bored with boredom.
Most people tend to overeat not because they are hungry and not even because they have an irresistible craving, but simply because they’re bored. Recognize that in yourself and, next time, don’t head for the cookie jar. Instead, head for the front door! Get out of the house. At that moment don’t worry about making practical use of your time, just go and do something. Catch up on some shopping. Go to the bookstore. Call a friend and suggest the two of you take a walk. Go through your “to do” list (and we all have them) of things you haven’t had time to do — like clean out closets, balance the check book, etc., return a few phone calls — and start doing!
“You’ll find boredom where there is the absence of a good idea.” ~ Earl Nightingale
. . . and the last and very important point I’d like to make is this:
6. Talk nice to yourself.
This point is a no-brainer! Be honest: Would you be friends with someone who constantly told you how fat you looked? Probably not for very long. Would you tolerate a friend who constantly berates you, who never misses an opportunity to tell you you’re hopeless and weak and that you’ll never lose weight? I doubt it. So why in the world then would you put up with that kind of crappy, abusive talk to yourself?
“Your self-talk is the channel of behavior change.” ~ Gino Norris
Every time you hear that little negative voice inside your head, stop whatever it is you’re doing at the time and think of something to encourage yourself — which is exactly what you would do if you were trying to encourage a friend, right?! So, instead of the negative self-talk, say to yourself, “Okay, I’m not as slim and fit as I’d like to be yet, but I’m working on it. I’m making progress . . . and I’m feeling really good about that.”
Losing weight is a mind game. Change your mind. Change your body.
I am passionate about helping my clients become slim and healthy. I write and release weekly blogs and Fat Chat℠ podcasts to educate and motivate on all issues related to #weightloss, #obesity, health and wellness, diet and lifestyle.
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